Archive for November 17th, 2016

17/11/2016

A Nonviolent Strategy to Liberate Syria

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

DAYLESFORD, Australia,  16 November, 2016 – In early 2011, as the Arab Spring was moving across North Africa and the Middle East, small groups of nonviolent activists in Syria, which has been under martial law since 1963, started protesting against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad and demanding democratic reforms, the release of political prisoners, an increase in freedoms, abolition of the emergency law and an end to corruption.

robert-j-burrowes11

Robert J. Burrowes

By mid-March these protests, particularly in cities such as Damascus, Aleppo and Daraa, had escalated and the ‘Day of Rage’ protest on 15 March 2011 is considered by many to mark the start of the nationwide uprising against the Assad dictatorship.

The dictatorship’s reaction to the protests became violent on 16 March and on 18 March, after Friday prayers, activists gathered at the al-Omari Mosque in Daraa were attacked by security forces with water cannons and tear gas, followed by live fire; four nonviolent activists were killed.

Within months, as the nonviolent protests expanded and spread, the regime had killed hundreds of activists and arbitrarily arrested thousands, subjecting many of them to brutal torture in detention.

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